Less than 10 per cent of crashes reported in Colac Otway and Corangamite shires in the five years to mid-2017 involved international visitors, according to VicRoads statistics.
But Corangamite MP Sarah Henderson has labelled international tourists visiting the Colac region as “moving time bombs” and claims “many of whom arrive here with virtually no driving experience”.
The Federal MP did not respond to the Herald’s questions about the potential damage to the tourism industry caused by her statements, or whether she was concerned that her campaign targeting international drivers failed to address the relevant road safety issues.
Ms Henderson’s comments, which focused on international drivers rather than domestic tourists, increasing traffic in the region or poor road conditions, have appeared on national and international media including Chinese online news service Xinhuanet.
She made the derogatory statements about overseas visitors while promoting a rally she hosted with Polwarth MP Richard Riordan at Birregurra on Sunday calling on the State Government “to take urgent road safety action on tourist roads on and around the Great Ocean Road”.
Ms Henderson followed her “time bomb” comment with a post on Facebook on Monday linking the death of Steven Hullo in a crash at the Birregurra-Forrest Road, Colac-Deans Marsh Road intersection near Birregurra on Boxing Day with a call for “tough action on road safety and unsafe driving by international tourists”.
The driver charged over the fatal crash was a Chinese national and Colac resident, not an “international tourist” who would be affected by any licensing changes suggested by Ms Henderson.
Ms Henderson then posted a claim that “a crackdown on international drivers is necessary and required” on her Facebook page on Wednesday.